Friday, May 29, 2020

Quarantine Quotidians, May 29, 2020

I persuaded my library to buy this for me to read after hearing glowing reviews about it from Romancelandia and then I bought a copy for myself and then 2 more for friends. It was my favorite book of 2016. If it's not the perfect contemporary romance, it's close. Maybe I should read it again.

Media Matters

I've been trying to clean up my Currently Reading section on Goodreads because earlier in the week it was like 15 books. Now it's 11. I was trying to listen to the audio book of Good Omens but I gave up after realizing the television series was (gasp!) better than the book. I skimmed through The Tale of Despereaux last night to be done with it. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because it introduced new vocabulary well. Really not my thing. I finally finished Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh, who is my current favorite author, but I was not in love with the book. When I asked for comments about it on one of my Romancelandia FB groups, I was assured the rest of the series was up to her usual standard of excellence. And Rock star romances aren't a trope I go out of my way to read. What I really need to finish next is Ethan of Athos, the next Vorkosiverse book, even though I'm not loving the set up. But I also recently started The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and it's gorgeous. I enjoyed The Iliad when I read it in college, but this is a whole new world. And the prose is so beautiful. I have also started craving hockey themed romances, which is not a world I really follow, in life or romantic tropes. Maybe because it's so hot outside, my mind thinks the books will cool me off. Whatever. I read all of Pippa Grant last year, including her hockey romances, and she writes excellent books. I'm looking at Sarina Bowen and Avery Flynn's series presently.

Last week, we watched Star Trek: Picard and agreed it was the best television we've seen in a long time. We haven't agreed on what to watch next because I needed something fluffier than Expanse series 3 and Marshall doesn't want to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, (now on Netflix) which neither of us have ever seen. We watched the first 2 episodes and he fell asleep. I guess I'll be watching that alone, along with Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Maybe we'll go back to The Witcher. He highly recommends Tales From the Loop (also on Netflix) which I only watched half of because of how much it made me cry. It's very good, though.

Family Dynamics

Yesterday, Marshall and I Zoomed with someone who may be a new family counselor for us. Miranda continues to be singular and stymies most people who try to help her, including us. We've decided to do daily checklists for everyone in the house (took a shower, put on clean clothes) and start posting the weekly calendar again (even though it's mostly empty) on the fridge for everyone to see just so we all know what day it is. There isn't a lot of structure to our lives and we need to add an artificial one to help our brains from permanently turning into laptop screens.

Alex has also started talking with a psychiatrist from The Autism Center at the Nemours Hospital in Wilmington, DE, (which is only an hour away by car) about his eating issues and after meeting with her 10 days ago via Nemours' proprietary teledoc system, we were going to start reintroducing foods he used to like. A few days ago, I had despaired because nothing I said convinced him to eat pancakes again. And then a few days ago, he wanted a new book and I said he had to earn it by trying pancakes 4 days in a row. 2 down, 2 to go.

I have to go cook that pancake now.

Palate cleanser

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Quarantine Quotidians: May 20

I wouldn't recommend starting your reading of Sherry Thomas' books with this book because I always recommend reading authors in order of the publication of their books, if possible. And if you read this one first, you'd be reading her best work first. (Well, I haven't read everything she's published; I haven't yet read her YA series or her last few books. I will, eventually.) I still think this book is tremendous and it will make you cry. I've read it or 5 times and even though I know what's coming, each plot point still leaves me breathless. Very angsty. Not fluffy. Not a cinnamon roll hero.

Harder Things

I haven't blogged in 3 weeks. There hasn't been a lot of happy news to share. Quarantine goes on, although we tried dinner in my parents' backyard on Saturday (physically distanced and since the children don't eat barbecued ribs, they ate before we left) it wasn't terribly successful. Both kids flipped out when told to get ready or get in the car. It had been 2 months since they'd gone anywhere but our backyard and the change didn't go over well. Autism in a plague year sucks.

Miranda's given up on school and I'm done trying to persuade her to do anything schoolish. So she's learning to do her own laundry and other helpful things when I think of them. Alex will still do a few things and pretend to be in school for a few moments each day. We're still hopeful that he will have his regular 6 week summer school session, even if I have to drive him to Atco and back every day (about 35 minutes one way, 15 miles cross country. Although, if there's no traffic I might save 5 minutes by going down 73. But I digress.) I wonder if it would be best for Miranda to just repeat 7th grade, since, academically, the year has mostly been a loss. I guess that depends on if there is school in September. If there isn't, it doesn't really matter.

It's hard to look forward in a plague year. Two months at home has made us all absolutely nuts or deeply depressed or both, but there is no end in sight. There is no cure, no vaccine and no real treatment for Covid19 and the virus is invisible in the wild. Alex's school can probably do the distancing necessary because it's small and private but part of its population is medically fragile. Miranda attends a middle school with all the other middle school students in the town. Classes are crowded, hallways are crowded and teenagers aren't great at keeping to no touching rules. Marshall's employer is going to start to allow people back in the building in June but never to full capacity. He expects to be working some days in the office and some days home, on a rotating basis. Herd immunity needs to be greater than 60% to be helpful, according to this article, and we aren't even close to that. Many more thousands of people are going to die before we get there, no matter what we do. And it's going to take years. As I said, it's real cheery around here lately.

I haven't been reading a whole lot. I've started a few books and finished even fewer. My favorite was another from my mother in law's shelf that I kept to read, a collection of the first three Jacqueline Kirby books by Elizabeth Peters. They were excellent; unfortunately, there's only one more in the series. I listened to Neil Gaiman read his collection of Norse Mythology and it was interesting but, as he says, incomplete. I finished my reread of Lucy Parker's London Celebrities books so now I can start the new one, when I get enough motivation to do so. I'm amazed I haven't yet fallen into a reread of the Guild Hunter or PsyChangeling series by Nalini Singh but I think that's mostly because I don't own all the paperback copies yet. I'm continuing to collect them. I miss my library but the only way to disinfect books is to leave them in an empty room for a week. I'll keep using their online options, thank you.

Marshall and I finished watching both seasons 1 and 2 of The Expanse and then I needed to take a break and watch fluffier things, so we finished The Mandalorian. I've also gone back to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, restarting at season 2, so I can finish the series. I gave up somewhere is season 4 last time, when it got really dark. We haven't decided what we're going to watch next. We started Picard but then he wants me to read the book that precedes the series, which I haven't yet. There's always The Witcher (stopped after episode 4) or Jessica Jones (somewhere in season one) or Daredevil (early in season 2) or Luke Cage (I think we finished season 1). I'm not sure Iron Fist is worth finishing; we were like halfway through season 1. I do want to watch The Defenders and I hate not watching things in order. But when a show gets darker and scarier, I am reluctant to continue. Do I frustrate my husband when I do this? Absolutely. Do we process visual media differently? Yup. Things stay with me for hours or days. He is better able to shrug them off. And no, we don't like sitcoms or reality television that isn't Mike Rowe and most crime procedurals like NCIS or CSI get boring or piss me off or both. Maybe I should start watching She-Ra.

Palate Cleanser: Presto never stops being funny